Paragraphs to Love



"It never occurred to me that I couldn’t live the life I wanted to lead. It never occurred to me that I could be stopped...I had this very simple view: that the reason people who start out with ideals or aspirations don’t do what they dream of doing when they’re young is because they quit. I thought, well, I won’t quit."

– Susan Sontag

"Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger than we were before.  Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be... for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed."

– Alice Walker

"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."

– Elisabeth Kübler Ross

Source: Death: The Final Stage of Growth

"There is one peculiarity which real works of art possess in common. At each fresh reading one notices some change in them, as if the sap of life ran in their leaves, and with skies and plants they had the power to alter their shape and colour from season to season. To write down one’s impressions of Hamlet as one reads it year after year, would be virtually to record one’s own autobiography, for as we know more of life, so Shakespeare comments upon what we know."

– Virginia Woolf

Source: Genius and Ink: Virginia Woolf on How to Read

"One of the best secrets of a happy life is the art of extracting comfort and sweetness from every circumstance... People are always looking for happiness at some future time and in some new thing, or some new set of circumstances, in possession of which they some day expect to find themselves. But the fact is, if happiness is not found now, where we are, and as we are, there is little chance of it ever being found. There is a great deal more happiness around us day by day than we have the sense or power to seek and find.If we are to cultivate the art of living, we should cultivate the art of extracting sweetness and comfort out of everything, as the bee goes from flower to flower in search of honey."

– Thomas Mitchell

Source: Essays on Life

"Fall in love with some activity, and do it! Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn't matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough. Work as hard and as much as you want to on the things you like to do the best. Don't think about what you want to be, but what you want to do. Keep up some kind of a minimum with other things so that society doesn't stop you from doing anything at all."

– Richard Feynman

Source: The Feynman Lectures on Physics

"Find a partner who is ready to build with you. It is not about finding perfection in another person, it is about realizing when you come across an undeniable connection that nourishes your being and matches the type of support you are looking for. Getting lost in the idea of perfection is a hindrance. Being with someone who is committed to going through the ups and downs of life together is truly priceless. When two people embrace their imperfections and commit to growing into better versions of themselves, it will naturally enhance the happiness they share in the relationship."

– Yung Pueblo

"Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does."

– Margaret Atwood

Source: The Penelopiad

"The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming."

– Cheryl Strayed

Source: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

"There’ s a guy inside me who wants to lay in bed, and smoke weed all day, and watch cartoons, and old movies.I could easily do that.My whole life is a series of stratagems to avoid, and outwit, that guy."

– Anthony Bourdain

"I'm not telling you to make the world better, because I don't think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I'm just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave's a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that's what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it."

– Joan Didion

Source: 1975 Commencement Address at the University of California, Riverside

"If you’ re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’ t even start.This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind.It could mean not eating for three or four days.It could mean freezing on a park bench.It could mean jail. It could mean derision.It could mean mockery– isolation.Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds.And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’ re going to try, go all the way.There is no other feeling like that.You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire.You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’ s the only good fight there is."

– Charles Bukowski

Source: Factotum

"And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others. And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about."

– Haruki Murakami

Source: Kafka on the Shore

"He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves."

– Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Source: Love in the time of Cholera

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars."

– Jack Kerouac

Source: On the road

"It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested. But when it is squandered in luxury and carelessness, when it is devoted to no good end, forced at last by the ultimate necessity we perceive that it has passed away before we were aware that it was passing.So it is—the life we receive is not short, but we make it so, nor do we have any lack of it, but are wasteful of it."

– Seneca

Source: On the Shortness of life

"Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety - two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape - descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea."

– Douglas Adams

Source: The Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy

"There is no formula for success—you just begin and then you continue. I’m often asked how to have a career in stand-up and the answer is confoundingly simple: Do the work. Over and over again, just do the work. After you build the courage to get onstage that first time, it’s all about repetition."

– Cameron Esposito

Source: In the Company of Women

"It is wonderful how much work can be got through in a day, if we go by the rule—map out our time, divide it off, and take up one thing regularly after another. To drift through our work, or to rush through it in a helter-skelter fashion, ends in comparatively little being done. "One thing at a time" will always perform a better day's work than doing two or three things at a time. By following this rule, one person will do more in a day than another does in a week."

– Thomas Mitchell

Source: Essays on Life

"One must be pitiless about this matter of "mood." In a sense, the writing will create the mood. ... I have forced myself to begin writing when I've been utterly exhausted, when I've felt my soul as thin as a playing card, when nothing has seemed worth enduring for another five minutes ... and somehow the activity of writing changes everything."

– Joyce Carol Oates

Source: something

"You should know that when a message you convey to another person is not understood by him, at least one of the following things is true: what you have said is not true, or you have conveyed it without kindness."

– Leo Tolstoy

"If you love to read, or learn to love reading, you will have an amazing life. Period. Life will always have hardships, pressure, and incredibly annoying people, but books will make it all worthwhile. In books, you will find your North Star, and you will find you, which is why you are here. Books are paper ships, to all the worlds, to ancient Egypt, outer space, eternity, into the childhood of your favorite musician, and — the most precious stunning journey of all — into your own heart, your own family, your own history and future and body.Out of these flat almost two-dimensional boxes of paper will spring mountains, lions, concerts, galaxies, heroes. You will meet people who have been all but destroyed, who have risen up and will bring you with them. Books and stories are medicine, plaster casts for broken lives and hearts, slings for weakened spirits. And in reading, you will laugh harder than you ever imagined laughing, and this will be magic, heaven, and salvation. I promise."

– Anne Lamott

Source: A Velocity of Being: Letters to A Young Reader

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray." - Rumi